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 Post subject: Combine preview: Top performances, player projections
PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:49 am 
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Combine preview: Top performances, player projections

By Chad Reuter
NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst
Feb. 17, 2011

The NFL Scouting Combine begins Feb. 24 and regardless of what most evaluators suggest, the 329 prospects invited have a chance to boost or bust their final draft rating.

NFL coaches and scouts insist every year leading into the combine that the test results from the week-long event -- an all-encompassing interview process and pseudo track meet in Indianapolis for hundreds of pro football hopefuls -- are wildly overrated by media and fans.

The opinion of pro evaluators is, the player is a known commodity with a known draft value entering the combine and he won't move up or down any team's draft board based on a performance given in shorts and a t-shirt. But scouts now concede that combine and Pro Day results can be used as a tiebreaker of sorts when teams are choosing between prospects who are otherwise similar in size, ability, college performance, health history and character. Athletic testing, in essence, can move players to one side of the "bubble" or the other.

NFLDraftScout.com examines the players who have made the most of their combine invitation since 2000, along with a player at each position who could make a similar move in the 2011 draft based on his performance in Indianapolis.

Note that before 2006, many of the top players did not fully participate in combine workouts. The theory was they were more concerned that it might hurt their draft status -- many times on the advice of their agents, not because they were not willing to run -- and instead opted to work out in the comfortable environs offered at an on-campus workout or Pro Day.

Five years ago, when the event was first televised live, most every player decided running the 40 and other at least partially participating in on-field drills was in their best interest.

Worth noting: Many first-round picks prior to 2000 didn't work out in Indianapolis, leading to many past second-round picks being listed in the notable performers category below.

Top combine performances

2010 (Offensive tackle)

OT Trent Williams
No. 4 overall, Redskins

Maryland's Bruce Campbell received most of the headlines with his exceptional combine (4.75 40, 7.58 three-cone, 4.69 short shuttle at 6-feet-6, 314) but his immaturity and average play on the field pushed Campbell to the fourth round. Williams' workout was nearly as good -- (4.81, 7.64, 4.63, 34.5-inch vertical -- and his superior on-field performance at Rutgers made him the first tackle drafted.

Tyron Smith should put up 40-yard dash and shuttle times similar to Trent Williams' in 2010. (Getty Images)
Tyron Smith should put up 40-yard dash and shuttle times similar to Trent Williams' in 2010. (Getty Images)
Projected 2011 combine star

OT Tyron Smith, Southern Cal
Expect the ultra-athletic Smith to weigh in at 300-plus pounds after playing at 285 for the Trojans. If his surgically repaired meniscus is healed, he should put up 40-yard dash and shuttle times similar to those recorded by Williams.

Other notable performances in 2010:

DT Lamarr Houston (44th overall, Raiders)
4.84 40, 33 1/2-inch vertical, 7.61 three-cone.

OT Rodger Saffold (33rd overall, Rams)
5.21 40, 27 reps of 225-pound bench press, 29 1/2-inch vertical, 4.67 shuttle, 7.42 three-cone, 9 feet, 5 inch broad jump.

RB Ben Tate (58th overall, Texans)
4.34 40, 26 reps of 225-pound bench press, 40 1/2-inch vertical, 4.12 short shuttle, 6.91 three-cone, 9 feet, 6 inch broad jump.

2009 (Defensive tackle)

DT Evander Hood
32nd overall, Steelers
"Ziggy" put on an athletic show (4.89 40, 34 reps, 33-inch vertical, 4.55 short shuttle, 7.5 three-cone). That allowed the Steelers to select him with the last pick of the first round as a five-technique defensive end in their 3-4 scheme.

Projected 2011 combine star

DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
A team running the 3-4 defense could view Liuget as a reasonable comparison to Hood, provided Liuget shows similar short-area quickness, but an outstanding performance could also boost his stock with 4-3 defensive teams like the Colts and Bears looking for a pass-rushing three-technique.

Other notable performances in 2009

DE/OLB Connor Barwin (46th overall, Texans)
4.61 40, 40 1/2-inch vertical, 4.18 short shuttle, 6.87 three-cone, 10 feet, 8 inch broad jump.

OLB Aaron Curry (4th overall, Seahawks)
4.55 40, 25 reps, 37-inch vertical, 10 feet, 4 inch broad jump. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland (7th overall, Raiders)
4.28 40, 16 reps, 38 1/2-inch vertical, 4.18 short shuttle, 6.8 three-cone.

2008 (Quarterback)

QB Matt Ryan (4th overall, Falcons)
Athletic testing for most traditional, pro-style quarterbacks is fairly unimportant. As long as a quarterback appears somewhat mobile, teams will make their decisions based on the accuracy and arm strength shown on their college game film. Ryan actually made his case as a legitimate top-five pick during the interview process. The then 22-year old looked confident and comported himself as if he were a 10-year veteran. The Falcons took a chance on Ryan when many teams questioned his downfield arm strength and viewed his 18 interceptions as a senior as a foreboding sign.

Projected 2011 combine star

QB Cam Newton, Auburn
Newton will undoubtedly be off-the-charts athletically, should he choose to participate in workouts. But he'll need to woo teams with his personality and with straight-forward answers to tough questions about his troubles at Florida and throughout his heavily investigated secondary recruitment which found his father, Cecil, guilty of devising a pay-for-play scheme.

Other notable performances in 2008

RB Chris Johnson (24th overall, Titans)
4.24 40, 35-inch vertical, 10 feet, 10 inch broad jump.

SS Tyrell Johnson (42nd overall, Vikings)
4.41 40, 27 reps, 32-inch vertical, 10 feet, 7 inch broad jump.

TE Dustin Keller (30th overall, Jets)
4.55 40, 26 reps, 38-inch vertical, 4.14 short shuttle, 6.88 three-cone, 10 feet, 11 inch broad jump.

2007 (Defensive end)

DE Gaines Adams
4th overall, Buccaneers
Calvin Johnson's 4.4 40-yard dash at 230 pounds -- wearing someone else's shoes -- was impressive. But the late Adams' overall performance -- 4.66 40, 35-inch vertical, 7.17 three-cone, 9 feet, 11 inch broad jump, 35 3/4-inch arm length -- put him at the top of the defensive end class.

Projected 2011 combine star

DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
The death of Adams, who attended the same high school as Bowers, greatly affected Bowers, who saw the emerging star as a role model and "big brother." The loss of his mentor and also the death of his father shortly thereafter, pushed Bowers to play so well that the 2010 Nagurski Trophy winner cements his status as a top-five pick with a great performance on the turf and in the interview room in Indy.

Other notable performances in 2007

C/OG Ryan Kalil (59th overall, Panthers)
5.01 40, 34 reps, 4.34 short shuttle, 7.5 three-cone, 8 feet, 8 inch broad jump.

DT Amobi Okoye (10th overall, Texans)
5.06 40, 29 reps, 7.46 three-cone, 9 feet, 3 inch broad jump.

ILB Patrick Willis (11th overall, 49ers)
4.56 40, 39-inch vertical, 9 feet, 11 inch broad jump.

2006 (Tight end)

TE Vernon Davis, 6-3, 254
6th overall, 49ers
Davis' combine was the stuff of legends, outperforming wide receivers who were 50 pounds lighter. Davis wowed with a 4.38 40, 33 reps of 225-pound bench press, 42-inch vertical and 10 feet, 8 inch broad jump. The athleticism on display in Indy made him one of two tight ends (Kellen Winslow, Jr.) to be picked as high as the sixth overall selection over the past quarter-century.

D.J. Williams may not be the next Vernon Davis, but he should climb up the draft boards. (Getty Images)
D.J. Williams may not be the next Vernon Davis, but he should climb up the draft boards. (Getty Images)
Projected 2011 combine star

TE D.J. Williams, Arkansas
Don't expect Williams to put up the type of numbers Davis did; but he could do very well in the 40 and change-of-direction drills to make his way up draft boards as Dustin Keller (Jets) did in 2008.

Other notable performances in 2006

CB Tye Hill (15th overall, Rams)
4.34 40, 41-inch vertical, 4.01 short shuttle, 6.63 three-cone, 10 feet, 9 inch broad jump.

DE/OLB Manny Lawson (22nd overall, 49ers)
4.43 40, 39-inch vertical, 4.18 short shuttle, 6.9 three-cone, 10 feet, 4 inch broad jump.

FS Michael Huff (seventh overall, Raiders)
4.31 40, 21 reps, 40 1/2-inch vertical, 10 feet, 5 inch broad jump.

2005 (Outside linebacker)

DE/OLB DeMarcus Ware
11th overall, Cowboys
The Sun Belt star proved he belonged with the big boys with a 4.56 40, 27 reps with very long arms and a strong 6.83 three-cone drill that displayed his receiver-like short-area quickness. Bill Parcells picked him up early to be the 3-4 pass rush star we've seen over the past few seasons (80.5 career sacks).

Projected 2011 combine star
DE/OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri
The right leg Smith fractured this season will be checked extensively during his combine physical, but his long, lean frame gives him the chance to move up into the top 12 picks of the first round as Ware did with similar test results.

Other notable performances in 2005

DT Luis Castillo (28th overall, Chargers)
4.79 40, 32 reps, 34 1/2-inch vertical (failed steroids test but was still picked in the first round).

RB J.J. Arrington (44th overall, Cardinals)
4.4 40, 18 reps, 35-inch vertical, 6.81 three-cone, 10 feet, 1 inch broad jump.

WR/TE Matt Jones (21st overall, Jaguars)
4.37 40, 39 1/2-inch vertical, 10 feet, 9 inch broad jump (converted quarterback).

2004 (Cornerback)

CB Ahmad Carroll
25th overall, Packers
His career did not turn out as well as fellow combine stars Dunta Robinson and DeAngelo Hall (who ran 4.34 and 4.35 in the 40), there is no question that Carroll's pure athleticism (4.28 40, 41-inch vertical, 10-8 broad jump) meant the most to his draft stock.

Projected 2011 Combine star

CB Brandon Harris (Miami, Fla.)
Harris is looking up to Patrick Peterson -- who could wow with his size/speed combination -- and Prince Amukmara on draft boards. Just as Carroll did Robinson and Hall. But showing speed and explosion in other drills could help him secure that first-round slot.

Other notable performances in 2004

DE Travis LaBoy (42nd overall, Titans)
4.68 40, 35 reps, 7.01 three-cone, 10 feet, 6 inch broad jump.

DT Igor Olshansky (35th overall, Chargers)
4.97 40, 41 reps, 33 1/2-inch vertical, 7.61 three-cone, 9-2 broad jump.

S Bob Sanders (44th overall, Colts)
4.35 40, 41 1/2-inch vertical, 6.7 three-cone.

2003 (Guard)

OG Eric Steinbach
33rd overall, Browns
Steinbach was an All-American left guard for the Hawkeyes, but tested like a left tackle at the combine. His 4.94 40, 36-inch vertical, 7.34 three-cone, 9 feet, 11 inch broad jump gave him one of the top testing performances by an interior lineman over the last decade.

Projected 2011 combine star

OG Danny Watkins, Baylor
His advanced age (26) and inexperience (only played four years of football, two at the FBS level) aside, Watkins' technique and attitude has made him a favorite among scouts. But if he can perform better than expected in Indy, he can lock up a first-round selection. If he's off the charts, teams might envision keeping him at tackle.

Other notable performances in 2003

CB Sammy Davis (30th overall, Chargers)
4.41 40, 19 reps, 40-inch vertical, 7.0 three-cone, 10 feet, 11 inch broad jump.

OLB Chaun Thompson (52nd overall, Browns)
4.53 40, 29 reps, 35 1/2-inch vertical, 7.0 three-cone, 10 feet, 3 inch broad jump.

WR Tyrone Calico (60th overall, Titans)
4.34 40, 38-inch vertical, 6.72 three-cone, 10 feet, 7 inch broad jump.

2002 (Safety)

SS Tank Williams
45th overall, Titans
There's little wonder why a 220-pound safety player nicknamed "Tank" (first name is Clevan), running 4.46 40, pushing 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, recording a 38 1/2-inch vertical and broad jump of 10 feet, 5 inches, would go in the top 45 overall selections.

With a strong combine, DeAndre McDaniel could move into the first round. (Getty Images)
With a strong combine, DeAndre McDaniel could move into the first round. (Getty Images)
Projected 2011 combine star

SS DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
This spot could have been taken by North Carolina's Deunta Williams had Williams not broken his right leg in the Tar Heels' bowl victory. But McDaniel's also a physical specimen who could inch all the way into the first round by showing his strength and surprising with good speed.

Other notable performances in 2002

DT Eddie Freeman, 6-5, 310, Kansas City, #43: 4.91 40, 32 reps, 34.5" vertical, 9'3" broad.

DE/OLB Bryan Thomas, 6-4, 266, NY Jets, #22: 4.47 40, 33 reps, 34.5' vertical.

WR Tim Carter, 6-0, 190, NY Giants, #46: 4.32 40, 39" vertical, 6.68 three-cone, 10'6" broad.

2001 (Running back)

RB LaDainian Tomlinson
5th overall, Chargers
One of the few elite prospects to work out at the 2001 combine, Tomlinson not only impressed NFL teams with his phenomenal workout (4.36 40, 18 reps, 40 1/2-inch vertical, 6.84 three-cone) but also his willingness to compete when others did not -- although he did face competition from Deuce McAllister (4.41 40 at 220 pounds, 20 reps, 37 1/2-inch vertical) and Michael Bennett (4.38 40, 39 1/2-inch vertical).

Projected 2011 combine star

RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
Without injury issues, Williams would probably be among the top prospects in this draft. But knee surgery and ankle issues in high school, along with a torn right hamstring during the 2010 season, makes scouts doubt his durability. Assuming he is healthy for the combine, expect him to put up the best numbers among top running back prospects and enjoy a bump up many draft boards.

Other notable performances in 2001

DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (34th overall, Cardinals)
4.75 40, 26 reps, 36 1/2-inch vertical, 6.83 three-cone, 9 feet, 11 inch broad jump.

ILB Kendrell Bell (39th overall, Steelers)
4.64 40, 38 1/2-inch vertical, 7.25 three-cone, 10 feet, 4 inch broad jump.

WR Chris Chambers (52nd overall, Dolphins)
4.33 40, 45-inch vertical.

2000 (Inside linebacker)

ILB Brian Urlacher
9th overall, Bears
Scouts knew all about the talent of New Mexico's star, who excelled at the "Lobo" position, a safety/linebacker hybrid. He also made plays as a wide receiver (six touchdown receptions) and return specialist (five touchdowns). But the athleticism he showed at 258 pounds (4.59 40, 27 reps, 34-inch vertical, 10 feet, 2 inch broad jump) cinched a top-10 spot.

Projected 2011 combine star

ILB Martez Wilson, Illinois
Wilson's neck problems that kept him off the field in 2009 might scare off some teams, but his athleticism has always been evident. He played inside for the Illini, and could shift outside as a pass rusher at the next level, but 3-4 teams looking for a Karlos Dansby-type inside 'backer will really appreciate his skill set.

Other notable performances in 2000

OT Chad Clifton (44th overall, Packers)
5.08 40, 24 reps of 225-pound bench press, 30 1/2-inch vertical, 7.58 three-cone.

RB Trung Canidate (32nd overall, Rams)
4.44 40, 18 reps.

S William Bartee (54th overall, Chiefs)
4.45 40, 38 1/2-inch vertical, 6.7 three-cone, 10 feet, 4 inch broad jump.

Chad Reuter is a Senior Draft Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange. Follow Chad on Twitter at @ChadReuter.

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 Post subject: Re: Combine preview: Top performances, player projections
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:40 pm 
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Found this video to be a lot of fun. I don't think winning this necessarily correlates to eventual on field performance, but Stephen Paea beating the bench press record can't be a bad thing.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-combine/0 ... e=HP_video

David.

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